Cinco De Mayo...What's more American than that? / by JIllian Marshall

Cinco de Mayo, a day we Americans normally reserve for tequila shots and sombreros is actually hardly celebrated in Mexico. We are taught next to nothing about this holiday in school, and most people incorrectly assume it is Mexico's Independence day. With next to no knowledge about this holiday Americans inherently love it but it turns out that symbolically and historically this holiday is arguable as culturally important here as it is south of the boarder.

On this day 154 years ago a small group of Mexican soldiers defeated the strategically superior and vastly more equipt French army at the Battle of Pueblo. The battle was a turn in the war with France, who had invaded Mexico after the Mexican government defaulted on a foriegn debt owed to many European countires. Napoleon III saw their financial insecurity as a weakness and instigated the war hoping to expand French imperialism. The inconceivable defeat of the French showed the world and the Mexican people that Mexico could be a beacon of independence. This holiday is very representative of ideals like the defeat of tyranny and patriotic pride, values also identified with being American.

Historically the Battle of Pueblo was also as important a turning point for the United States of America as it was for Mexico. While the French who were invading Mexico, the US was knee deep in the Civil War. The French, who were staunch supporters of the Confederate Army, saw Mexico as an opportunity for a political stronghold in North America. Had France successfully installed a Monarchy in Mexico the Confederate Army would have had boots on the ground support, a military advantage that could have changed the outcome of the war. If not for Mexico's victory we might be celebrating today with Confederate and French flags. Don't you think salsa and margaritas go better together than Mint Julips and croissants?

Another reason for American's to love Cinco De Mayo, the war hero of this story was actually American! General Ignacio Zaragosa, a Texas born ethnically Mexican soldier led a rag tag group of Mexican soldiers in a David and Goliath style stand off against a 19th century military powerhouse. A Mexican stand off has never seemed more Gringo.

The day after the GOP Presidential Candidate has become official we find ourselves on the precipice of an election that could result in a wall of both sadistic diplomacy and 300 tons of concrete being built between the US and Mexico. This holiday is the perfect time to take a moment and remember that the political relationship and cultural exchanges between these two countries goes far beyond Taco Tuesday and illegal immigration. We share values like independence, sovereignty and bravery. What is more American than that?

Let's take a tequila shot for our neighbours to the South to remember and celebrate all the great things we have created together (like strong international trade agreements, fusion holidays and chimi-changas).


Team Virago will be celebrating with Thor and the Rock 105.3 team at the Fiesta Old Town Cinco De Mayo tonight! Drink specials, music and a great excuse to remember all the things our two countries have in common. Join us!